*Authors Note* Ratchet & Clank: Into The Nexus is a PS3 exclusive title. Some mild spoilers may be contained for the purpose of this review.
Ratchet & Clank: Into The Nexus is many things: The final entry for this console generation, a return to traditional Ratchet & Clank platforming and seemingly a conclusion to the Future series. They’ve been through a lot together this generation from thwarting Emperor Tachyon attempts to wipe out Ratchet (the last of the Lombax’s) in ‘Tools of Destruction’, to ‘Quest for Booty’ and Ratchet’s search for his lost buddy Clank and finally into ‘A Crack in Time’, the return of Dr. Nefarious, and Azimuth’s attempt to use the power of the Great Clock for his own purposes.
Everything finally concludes with ‘Into The Nexus’, where both Ratchet and Clank are escorting criminals Vendra and Neftin Prog to the Vartax Detention Center. The pair manage to escape, obtaining the Dimensionator along the way and leaving Ratchet & Clank stranded on the planet Yerek. The pair plan to assume control of the Nethers, a species trapped on the other side of inter-dimensional rifts with immense power and use them to rule the universe, Ratchet & Clank on the other hand are working to prevent this from happening as any good protagonists do.
Into The Nexus is a shorter, far more compact experience when compared to entries such as ‘Tools of Destruction’ or ‘A Crack in Time’ – the content is all there, the same high quality platforming, the wacky weaponry and the awesome sense of humour, it’s just been crammed into a more bite size experience. The game will clock in at approximately 6-7hours depending on your difficulty setting of choice, how keen you are to unlock all the weapons, armour and how much of the Destructapalooza you want to complete. There are five different planets you will explore before your final mission and while the majority of the game plays much like previous entries, there are segments where Clank enters some of the planets Rifts that pay homage to some of 2D platformings greats while adding the Future series’ popular gravity effects for added challenge. These serve as both a challenge and a refreshing change of pace for the game.
As previously mentioned there is the Destructapalooza to explore which sees the pair compete in a range of different events to earn rewards with major prizes being awarded at the end of the Bronze, Silver and Gold cups. All of them offer serious challenge even for the most hardened of series fans. Finally, upon completion of the campaign a Challenge mode is unlocked, which essentially serves as a New Game +, allowing you to carry over weapons and armour into your new play-through along with all gained experience points. For the player who completes the campaign in short time, Insomniac have ensured that those players get extra value from their purchase post completion and they’ve nailed it on execution.
The Ratchet & Clank games of this generation have been simply stunning, extracting everything from their graphics engines and evoking a real Pixar standard in the final product, and while the engine is beginning to show its age somewhat, ‘Into the Nexus’ still stands up as one the prettiest games we’ve seen, backed by some equally impressive artistic flair that shows in both character, and world design. There are some occasionally weird physics bugs, and I managed to stumble upon an exploit that resulted in me running over an un-rendered area into complete nothingness, but all in all the standard is once again quite high. While much of the soundtrack seems to have been drawn from past Future games, the quality of the voice acting is once again of the top-most standard, making the jokes or little character quirks that much more amusing.
Ratchet & Clank: Into The Nexus is an experience that any series fan, as well as fans of the platforming genre should not miss. Sure, it’s a far shorter experience than what you can expect to get from other games in the series but at a reduced price and with the incredible charm that the game possesses it more than holds up in value. If this is Ratchet & Clanks farewell to the Future series as well as PS3, then they’ve well and truly gone out in style.